5 Essentials to Online Publishing

I had a great time last night hanging out with a bunch of other bloggers and online publishers at our monthly meetup and thankfully they were a great audience as I slightly changed up the agenda for the day from a less “technical” approach to a more pragmatic one.

After reviewing the list of attendees I realized this would be a decent change and it would be able to provide more value for those that were showing up.

What I ended up sharing were 5 core essentials to online publishing that I’ve honed in on after 10+ years of blogging. I’ve shared a few of these things before but what was neat was the ability to have real-time collaboration at the Meetup (which is why I love them so much) and get people into groups working on the assignments together with others.

Here’s what I shared:

1. Determine Focus, Niche

The first one is obvious and crucial for any blog, especially in the beginning. I have a few posts already that can give some more weight and context but the key was working through them and refining them with others during the evening.

What I challenged the group with was to “go deep” and then later “go wide” as you prove the concept of your blog and gain traction. You have to start here.

2. Publish Daily

Now, I scared a few people here but I’ve decided to put my foot down and just say it:

You need to write and publish daily.

I’ve been doing it for 10 years, every single day, and it’s worked. There’s something about this level of consistency that’s paying off (literally). Now, many of those in attendance won’t be able to do it, and that’s fine, but I still recommend that you try for it.

Develop a schedule and habit that works for you and then do amazing at it.

3. Choose 1 Secondary Marketing Channel

… and then kill it.

What I meant by this was to choose one other marketing channel (like Facebook, Twitter, etc) and then dedicate yourself solely to becoming freaking amazing at that one channel.

Do this instead of becoming too diluted in your efforts with multiple social networking accounts and the like. I have found greater success at online publishing when my efforts at marketing my publishing efforts are simple, straight-forward, and focused.

We had some great follow-up questions about this but I believe in this 100%. If you have time and scale to do others, then do it. But for me, I suggest choosing one and becoming awesome at it. Learn, and re-learn it as you see fit. That’s why I continually experiment with Twitter to see what works best!

4. Technology

Choose WordPress as your online publishing platform and then choose a decent WordPress Theme. Enough said. Most of the audience were already on WordPress but what I challenged the group was to understand why they chose not only WordPress but their specific WordPress Theme.

The point of this exercise was to help them become better and more educated about their decision. You see, you can’t really know why you’ve chosen something until you realize you can justify and defend it publicly – this forces you to really come clean and see your decision tree for what it is.

My goal for the people that I coach and teach is that they become better skilled and better educated about not just what they do but why they do it.

5. Goals, Measurement

The last essential to online publishing is simply creating goals and measuring them. I have a few posts on that here:

  1. Benefit of Short Term Goals
  2. Realistic Goals
  3. Live Example in Real-Time of Goals
  4. Blog Analytics
  5. Search Engine Metrics

The explicit point was to build momentum and how the development of momentum can only be achieved through measurement.

I had a blast with the group and look forward to our next one!

I’m currently looking for a location but already have a good topic to discuss. Love to see you there next time!

[Images courtesy of @JayCaruso]

  • http://www.geekfori.com Geekfori

    Amazing what you have in your brain brother. Appreciate the help and guidance you give to all of us.

    • http://www.about.me/benterry Ben Terry

      The dude has so much wisdom when it comes to online publishing! Love it.

  • Luis Fernando Reyes

    This is pretty much what blogging is about! I am about to shuttle my blogging how-to website in spanish, and this guide is great. Hope to meet you up sometime in the future, THANK YOU for thi.

  • http://dustn.tv Dustin W. Stout

    I really wish I could have been there! When are you going to start broadcasting these things on Google+ Hangouts?!

    • http://www.geekfori.com Geekfori

      People use Google + still?

      haha

      • http://undistractedchristian.com Tyler H

        People used Google + ever?

  • http://undistractedchristian.com Tyler H

    have you considered writing a blog series on how to “kill” different kinds of social media? like…”this is how to be really good at twitter”, etc?

    I would read it. I mean, I read everything, I even glance at co-working in atlanta even though I don’t co-work and I live a couple thousand miles away from atlanta, but still.

    • http://www.justcris.com Cris Ferreira

      That’s an awesome idea (the social media series), that would be very helpful for many of us.

    • Brandi

      I would love something like that!

  • Chris Neiger

    I wrote a blog for a bit that was unfocused and, although I enjoyed it, I’m finding it much better to hone in on one major topic and allow small off-shoots from that.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Great list!

  • http://thejoyofmoldings.com Ken

    We’re building our blog following John’s TentBlogger example (Standard Theme!), and the results are fantastic.

    But just last week I had read a bunch of advise that said not to publish a post every day. It just so happened that I went on vacation for 6 days right then and so didn’t publish anything.

    Our stats dropped from 600+ page views per day to around 400. I’ve only been back at publishing for the last two days and our stats jumped right back up to where they were.

    Lesson learned: Follow John’s example and publish every single day.

    I love the idea of a Blogger’s Meetup group. I’ll see if Tucson already has one. If not, maybe there are enough full time bloggers around here that I can start one.

    Great post, John. Thanks!

    • http://twitter.com/statedog Blake

      Yeah, I’d read the same thing here (http://boostblogtraffic.com/posting-every-day/) and knew it contradicted what John had to say. I think both have their good points though. For me it’d seem to be somewhere in the middle would be best (3-5 times a week). But that’s just my idea right now.

      • http://thejoyofmoldings.com Ken

        Blake: Some of our posts can take as much as 40 hours to write, and there is just no way I can post every day like that. So I think you’re right about 3-5 times a week as being a realistic schedule.

        But I am going to start stashing away shorter posts to publish when working on the big projects.

      • http://www.improvinglifedaily.com/ Ivan

        Blake, I think whatever frequency a blogger post at is fine, as long as we stay consistent with it. I’m more in favour of posting once a week for the reasons cited in Dries Cronje’s post.

        Trouble starts when we start posting more frequent than we can sustain in the long run. Our readers either gets flooded with more posts than they can read and leave, or they come to expect the higher post frequency. At which point, there’s no way to slow down without disappointing the readers.

  • http://www.jimgrayonline.com Jim Gray

    John-Boy…Now that I deal with content direction stuff all day long I completely appreciate your resources here!

  • http://richlangton.com Rich Langton

    Great list for anyone starting out, and the perfect reminder for anyone who’s been at it for a while – thanks.

  • Lawrence Wilson

    John, you (and some others) give the advice to “Choose WordPress” period.

    Why?

    I tried WordPress about six years ago, and found that I liked Blogger better. I still feel like Blogger is doing the job, though I haven’t compared recently.

    I’m willing to consider a change, but I don’t want to invest the time and energy if there’s not a compelling reason. Is there?

    • http://thejoyofmoldings.com Ken

      Lawrence, After spending a year building my blog in Blogger, and writing over 300 quality posts in my niche, I had an average of 800 page views per day.

      In less then three months and 120 published posts using WordPress and Standard Theme, I’m already at an average of 600 page views per day.

      Also, in all that time on Blogger I’ve only ONE subscriber. My WP blog now has 36! People comment way more frequently, too.

      The difference is just amazing.

  • http://ontopoftheboxeval.wordpress.com Karen Anderson

    It was an awesome event! Thanks so much for sharing your blogging wisdom with us. I was thinking “this is a little different from what I expected” but it was a very relevant agenda shift that everyone seemed to benefit from.

    The group exercises were like speed dating, I was able to swap info pretty quickly with several people and practice my “elevator speech” for my blog, something I’ve never done before. Tons of great nuggets. Loved it!

  • http://www.zigazag.com Johanna

    Thanks for some targeted and down to earth advice that we can implement straight away.

    • http://www.about.me/benterry Ben Terry

      Targeted and down to earth advice is the best kind! :)

  • http://www.fuelforyourpassion.com Alex Villasana

    John! About tip #3, Choose 1 Secondary Marketing Channel…
    Shout I pick that channel totally based on the number of visits it generates?
    For the last week I have been running a test: I share my posts using FB, G+ and Twitter. All the traffic comes fron my FB friends. The few visits I’ve got from Twitter is because it is connected to my FB page.
    I really would like to use G+, after reading Guy Kawasaky’s ebook, but I am affraid I do not have the bandwith to contribute meaningfuly in G+ at the same time I am trying to build up the content in my blog.

    Thanks!

  • http://cafecasey.wordpress.com cafecasey

    Thanks for linking back to this. I never really intended to blog, but ended up doing so to keep a writing promise. I really enjoy it, and have been contemplating being more structured. I really need to attend to #5, and the publish daily is something I’d not thought about–I am “regularly.” Thanks again.

    • http://john.do/ John

      sure thing! i’m committed to this. it’s tough, but you can do it!

      • http://cafecasey.wordpress.com cafecasey

        Honestly, I figured that I would be flooding things. You’re making me think about this a little differently. Also, my posts had been too long. I cut them down drastically. That helps.

  • http://mattragland.com Matt Ragland

    Thanks John, great advice. I know there’s a lot of advice saying people shouldn’t hit publish every day, because it’s not your best stuff, i.e. “publishing just to publish.”

    I’ve found though that not publishing every day just gives me an excuse to put off writing in general. So yes, I’m for publishing every day. Basically, there no way around simply doing the work.